European Consortium for Mathematics in Industry (ECMI) organizes an annual Modelling Week where master students from all over Europe solve real problem-based tasks that are developed by researchers. The peculiarities and insights about the international Modelling Week are disclosed by Mantas Landauskas, the researcher and an associate professor from the Department of Mathematical Modelling, the vice-dean for research at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, who also created a problem for students and will lead one student group in the event of the Modelling Week that will take place in Hungary.
This summer, the 36th ECMI Modelling Week will be held in Szeged, in Hungary and you will also take part in the event. Could you tell us more about the event, its aims and participants?
The ECMI Modelling Week has been running since 1988 and is annually held in a different country. This year, as you have already noted down, it will take place in Hungary, July 9–16.
During the event researchers lead a group of 5 to 6 students who have to solve some problems that are developed by researchers. There will be at least 5 groups of students with researchers-instructors from different countries. The Modelling Week itself is rather similar to the Workshop of Mathematical Solutions for Business and Industry, which is annually organized by the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. The main difference of the event is the fact that problems are prepared by representatives of the academic society rather than business or industry representatives and the problems are solved by students rather than researchers.
The main aim of the Modelling week is to provide students with possibilities to gain skills in solving real problems-based tasks and cooperate in multinational groups. The Modelling Week is annually held in a different place and this is one of the main criteria to be discussed by the members of the ECMI consortium.
Thank you for a very nice introduction and description of the event, yet, it were interesting to discover what is your personal aim for taking part in the week?
Mathematical modelling is an important area of my scientific research interests. As soon as the possibility appeared, I quickly develop a problem and suggest it for the event to be solved by a multinational group of students.
The main aim for taking part in the event is to share different innovations, achievements and insights that were discovered by the researchers of the Non-Linear Systems Mathematical Research Centre, led by the principal investigator, prof. M. K. Ragulskis, with students and other researchers, as well as to network, look for possibilities of cooperation and, to some extent, contribute to the organisation of the international Modelling Week since the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences at KTU is a member of ECMI consortium and in the spring of the year 2022 it became the first ECMI Teaching Centre in the Baltic States.
What topic did you suggest and what kind of problems students will have to deal with during the week?
The problem that I suggested is closely related with the research topic that has been examined by the group for several years and is connected to mathematical research of bearing faults. The idea is rather simple, i.e., real data of mechanical systems is analysed to detect if a bearing fault exists and how complex the fault is. Talking about the problem, that main aim is to evaluate what is the remaining time of the efficient bearing use. Frequently the main data is composed of acceleration that is measured by means of accelerometers, fixed to rotating elements, or simply measuring the acceleration. Different features are taken from the data that is further classified and evaluated by means of machine learning methods.
In classical cases typical features are frequency and statistics-related characteristics. However, in the case of this particular problem, an entropy substitution-based method has been selected. In research publications and scientific literature, a variety of the method is observed, thus, several types of them will be explained to students and they will have to practically programme it and carry out the research of the methods and the data.
During the Modelling Week I expect to meet students with difference experience since some parts of the task will require the knowledge of classical statistics and data science, whereas, the other will be based on the specific area of non-linear dynamics. And, finally, all of that will have to be either programmed or tested by means of numerical experiments. Data from public data bases will be used, and two of them are very popular. However, alternative databases might be used as well.
Could you tell us where the skills, obtained during the Modelling Week, could be practically applied? Is this a contribution to the future career of students? Could students use the results in their final thesis?
You are definitely right, knowledge and skills obtained are universal and can be applied not only in the research of mechanical systems but in such areas as the analysis of medical signals or finances. The didactic approach that will be used during the week is based on the synthesis of case studies and problem-based learning. Therefore, it will be useful for developing critical and analytical thinking. Team working together students will also develop soft competences of students. Thus, I could say, that the ECMI Modelling Week will provide perfect possibilities for students-participants to gain international experience, acquire new knowledge, extend their network and noticeably increase their competitive advantage in the labour market.